M’sianspiration is a Malaysian-based weekly series that highlights ordinary Malaysians who have extraordinary goals, lifestyles, and dreams. We hope that these people will inspire you to live extraordinarily. If you know anyone who qualifies, email and let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Often, when the topic of having children comes up amongst people under the age of 30, the common response is: “I’m too young for my life to end”. The general reaction to having children is met with derision on how they will no longer be able to have any fun or partake in any outdoor activities due to tending to a baby 24/7. While having a small human-being to take care of is no easy task, relating the introduction of a new life to the end of your own as a parent is a horrible misconception.
Indeed, the very definition of ‘having a life’ can be heavily debated. What exactly is having a life? Is it going out to party every other evening or buying clothes you’ll never get around to wearing? Is it working seven days a week to be able to afford the most overpriced vehicle in the market?
In this week’s M’sianspiration, we talked to Linus Chung, filmmaker and nature-lover, who is trying to change the perception on how people perceive living and then some!
Linus Chung, the co-director of MAS’ Terbang Video
Linus Chung first came to our attention through his website, Great Little Stories, where he shares his many adventures with his wife and baby. He aims to change many negative perceptions that having a baby equals to the end of fun and free-living as well as improving society’s way of life by putting less priority on material needs and living closer to nature. Linus has a career as a filmmaker and we have interviewed him previously about the Terbang Video he co-directed for Malaysia Airlines.
When Vulcan Post approached him for this column, he was surprised. “I don’t think I live an extraordinary life, just a life that is of my own design where I try to not conform to the rules set by society. The way I choose to live life is to earn enough to sustain my own family while also doing something to contribute to society in a meaningful way.”
Linus lives a simple, happy and meaningful life by not conforming to the ‘more is better’ mentality that many have adopted nowadays. “I shun away from the trappings of modernization and prefer to live closer to nature, inventing my own definition of happiness. While many men aspire for a Volvo, a BMW or a Ferarri, I proudly say we own a proton and a Myvi and so long as it works as a car, I am happy. If there is a car I aspire for, it will be a 4WD so I can go off-road in a jungle.”
His Philosophy in Life
“Many people complain about modern living and all its troubles and stresses… but the funny thing is that they do not change their way of life to escape it. They continue to work the grind and seem content to just complain about it.
“Man has always needed to work in order to sustain his living but the constant chase for wealth, material things and power to outdo one another in the modern world is just ridiculous. I prefer to earn enough and leave something for others.” He added that it’s enough to just have the things to make himself and his family happy whilst being grateful for what they have instead of being in a state of envy about ‘how much better other people are doing in life’.
Linus’s Anything-But-Ordinary Family
When asked about the love story of him and his wife, he said it wasn’t anything fancy. He met his wife, Shen, who is a conservationist and wildlife researcher, through his brother. He was impressed by her career as a tiger researcher and contacted her via Facebook about it. “She came down to KL one day and asked if I would like to accompany her to a shopping complex. I said I’d rather die… but if she likes, we could bring my Dog for a Hindu ‘Holi’ Festival.” The rest, you could say, is history.
“When I told my friend that I am having a baby, he laughed at me and said he wouldn’t have a baby so soon as he still wanted to travel,” he said. “The funny thing is, now that I have a baby, I am still travelling as much, or even more, than I had before!”
He added that it does make travelling slightly harder, but not as impossible as many would believe. He and his wife had travelled extensively before having the baby; however he added that traveling with the baby allows them to “experience the world from a different perspective… that from the eyes of the baby.”
Nature + Animals + Baby = Controversy?
Some of Linus’s family are not completely human either! They live together with a good number of different animals that is almost enough to turn his home into a mini zoo. They share their home with fishes, birds, lizards, tortoise, snakes and a ‘macho dog’. Have a look into a day in the life of the baby through her eyes.
As mentioned earlier, Linus and Shen doesn’t let having a baby stop them from going about their adventures. They carry the baby around in their hiking trips and even on boat rides (as seen in the picture above)! According to Linus, they brought the baby on her first trip into the jungle when she was only four months old! She’s now one year and seven months old. Linus and his wife allows the baby to be closer to nature from a young age to culture a love for all living things.
Some parents may have fears about allergies and germs, but studies has shown that this early exposure (provided there are no underlying health issues) is actually better for the baby in the long run! This research by John Hopkins Medicine showed that exposing babies to bacteria in their first year of life allows them to be less likely to suffer from allergies, wheezing and asthma (though of course, there will always be some who will disagree..).
Linus was recently faced with a bit of controversy for posting pictures of his baby playing with a pet snake, where people reacted with horror that he allowed his baby to play with the snake. “Many perceive it to be dangerous. I think that’s silly because the snake was tame and there were two adults supervising the interaction.” Linus added that many jump to conclusion about snakes being dangerous without prior education on the reptile, but will gladly ingest food items without prior knowledge of what they contain and how harmful they may be. “Now how’s that for dangerous?” he scolded jokingly.
Advice For The Readers
“I would just like to emphasize that we can still fix things (with nature) and it’s time we all do something before things get really bad. We are not doing enough by simply existing. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic: We are all killing ourselves. Our greed for material things is destroying the very planet that sustains us.”
“In Kuala Lumpur, instead of green areas, we have more and more malls and more and more traffic. Choose to be proactive and fight against bad government deicisions. Did you know that in KL, they tore down a 100-year-old prison (Pudu Jail) to build an MRT hub and a shopping complex? They are building mega damns and destroying Sarawak. Instead of fixing the public transport system, the government decided to simply build more roads (for example, the EKVE). Fight these.”
Finally, he advised to readers, “Choose to be happy. Take the weekend away from the city and visit a forest. If I’m right, you will feel happier.”